How To Create an Oriental, Chinese, Japanese Garden

If you want to create a Chinese or Japanese styled garden, David Coton has plenty of ideas and inspiration for ornaments, structures and plants that will provide a wonderful oriental feel.

Created by David Coton on Thursday, 7th of April, 2016.
Updated on Tuesday, 1st of May, 2018.


How to Create an Oriental, Chinese, Japanese Garden

Calmness and serenity, many people seek those attributes when planning a garden that will provide an escape from the stress of modern life.

A peace of quietness and beauty that gives you space for relaxation and contemplation. An oriental garden is designed to provide this refuge tinged with eastern mysticism. 

Oriental gardening at its simplest can be divided into two categories. Firstly tsukiyami, which is a hill garden and mainly composed of hills and ponds, and secondly hiraniwa, which is basically the exact opposite of tsukiyami, this being a flat garden without any hills or ponds.

Oriental Water Features

There’s nothing quite as calming as the shimmering sound of flowing water. Oriental garden ornaments, fountains and water features come in many guises, some in the shape of Buddhas or pagodas, or they may be just pleasing sculptural forms. All of them will offer the ethereal trickling of water reflecting eternal values.

The picture illustrating this article was taken by myself last summer in our Japanese garden at our Sutton Coldfield garden centre in Birmingham. Although a lot smaller than when it was originally built it still contains at its heart a pond and waterfall feature.

Buddha Statues

Buddhism and gardening have an intertwined history. The patience and hard work demanded in fashioning a garden resulting in paradise. Constructing a rock garden would follow ancient Japanese tradition together with a lantern-lined gravel path leading to enlightenment. An image of Buddha is also entirely appropriate and can provide a focal point for the garden if placed in a respectful position.

Traditionally the Buddha should look to the north, preferably on a plinth away from the ground and in a particularly serene location. As the Buddha is often depicted sitting on a lotus flower this could be near a water lily covered pond populated with koi carp. These fish are ornamental varieties of the common carp bred in a multitude of virtually limitless colours and patterns with Ghost koi becoming very popular in the United Kingdom over recent years.

If you do build a rock garden there are numerous rules and guidelines to follow. The selection and placement of rocks is most important, one theory is that there should be more horizontal than vertical stones, do not place them in straight lines or symmetrical patterns as randomly placed rocks produce spontaneity.  Other principles cover colour, shape and size and you realise that this is an extraordinary subject that deserves greater research.

Oriental Pagodas and Lanterns

Pagodas are another icon from the East that can be readily incorporated into an oriental garden. They are simply tiered towers with multiple eves, traditionally with an odd number of levels. Most had a religious function and were built near Buddhist temples. There are now more manageably sized stone cast replicas available that do not require planning permission. Or you could choose a larger wooden version as a centrepiece to the garden that would be perfect for dining or entertaining.

Other structures that add to the authenticity of your garden might be Chinese Tea House to relax in during a sunny afternoon or a pergola, free-standing or adjoining your house, that acts as an effective frame for flower displays or climbers. Hanging baskets and lanterns may be suspended from the roof enabling your garden to be filled with light and colour.

Japanese style garden benches may be placed around the garden with tetsubachi water basins and why not protect your tranquil setting from bad khama with a Foo Dog or Chinese guardian lion. These have traditionally stood in pairs in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, tombs and temples and are believed to be powerful protectors.

Correct Planting is Essential

In Buddhism planting represents fertile and blossoming ideas and the overriding consideration is that of harmony and simplicity. The garden must have hidden places to explore perhaps by gracefully arched bridges that are such an important element and careful planting creates a backdrop to garden features or forms an individual scene. Formal flower beds were uncommon but are now accepted while topiary and the shaping of plants and trees has always been important in creating an idealised natural panorama.

Japanese Cherries will offer colour and fragrance in abundance; acers and azaleas contribute stunning red, purple, orange and yellows that can be balanced by cool grasses and bamboos; magnificent wisterias, magnolias and hydrangeas contrast with evergreen pines and junipers to produce an amazing choice of flower and foliage.

Landscape gardener Seyemon Kusumoto wrote that the Japanese generate ‘the best of nature's handiwork in a limited space.’ And that will be your fascinating task.

You can view a huge range of oriental garden ornaments for home delivery on the GardenSite website.

Related Articles

How Can I Prevent A Pond From Freezing?

How Can I Prevent A Pond From Freezing?

An iced over pond will have a detrimental effect on animal and plant pond life, although fish and amphibians will survive under a frozen surface for some time, ice traps gases escaping from decaying material and prevents oxygen from entering the water.

Author: Dan Everton

Written by Dan Everton.
Published on Wednesday, 22nd of August, 2018.

GardenSite Visit Burbage Metal Craft

GardenSite Visit Burbage Metal Craft

Burbage metal and wooden gates, fencing and railing have recently been added to GardenSite, and last week David Coton took the opportunity to visit their Cannock base.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 9th of March, 2018.

Leanne From Kelkay Receives GardenSite's Excellent Customer Service Award

Leanne From Kelkay Receives GardenSite's Excellent Customer Service Award

GardenSite partner, David Coton, is pleased to announce that Leanne Arrowsmith from Kelkay is the latest recipient of our Excellent Customer Service Award.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 18th of August, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden In August

What To Do In The Garden In August

After the recent record breaking spell of hot weather, David Coton was glad to see recent rain freshening up the Garden Centre, but the sweltering heat is set to continue and he has these suggestions for some of the jobs that need to be done in the garden during August.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 27th of July, 2018.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

David Coton

Partner at GardenSite

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

How To Build A Starter Chicken Coop

How To Build A Starter Chicken Coop

Building a Hutch Company Starter Chicken Coop is easy by following the detailed instructions that are supplied, it is a practical design that uses excellent quality wooden panels and requires only a screwdriver for assembly.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Monday, 17th of September, 2018.

GardenSite Visits New Supplier Churnet Valley

GardenSite Visits New Supplier Churnet Valley

With a view to introducing their impressive range of timber products to GardenSite, David Coton recently visited Churnet Valley Garden Furniture to look around their manufacturing facility.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Monday, 17th of September, 2018.

David Coton's Review Of Glee 2018

David Coton's Review Of Glee 2018

GLEE is the garden retail industry's annual show, David Coton took the opportunity to visit this year's event at the NEC in Birmingham to catch up with the news, visit current and potential suppliers and evaluate new products we can offer on GardenSIte in the coming year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 13th of September, 2018.

Our Guide To La Hacienda Chimeneas And Firepits

Our Guide To La Hacienda Chimeneas And Firepits

With a La Hacienda chimenea or firepit providing light and heat whatever the thermometer says, David Coton discovers that you can continue savouring an outdoor lifestyle even in late summer and the cool of an autumn evening.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 4th of September, 2018.